Tag Archives: win

Hack an XBox Controller to Learn to Drive Stick

Source: Jalopnik

I like that there is innovation like this to help new drivers learn to drive stick (even though the problem with driving stick is mastering the balance between the clutch and accelerator rather than shift times). Even better is that it’s a great demonstration as to how Ford is pioneering a way to have an open standard and an API to communicate with the car’s computer. Having the API will allow developers to build custom gauges or monitoring tools that may bridge the gap between old-school and new-school tech and make modern cars a little bit less mysterious to people (and maybe vice versa by making computers less mysterious as well).

On the road again

How quaint.

How quaint.

Just recently read an article about Buc-ee’s in May/June 2013’s Texas Journey and just had a laugh about the image they used to headline the article. What was humorous about it is that unless they were depicting a scene from the early ’90s, the family in the photo clearly look like they’re from Austin. It’s not just the way they’re dressed and presented, but it’s the old Volvo that pinpoints it. The photographer could have used a family dressed in western clothes with a huge pick-up truck (to satisfy the Texas stereotype) or a family dressed in nice casual clothes and a newer car (which would satisfy the magazine stereotype), but they picked plaid/striped shirts and jeans (with folded-up cuffs) and an old Volvo (which satisfies the Austin stereotype). I thought the photo was more entertaining than the article!


Sunday drive

Sunday drive

There’s nothing more satisfying than a perfectly timed, rev-matched down-shift. That feeling of approaching the top of the hill with a stale green light not knowing when it’ll change to yellow just gets the adrenaline pumping. Once you’ve past the point of no return and know you can make it before the light changes, your heart bursts with emotion for the next trick. Clutch in… downshift… tap gas… clutch out… and BAM it’s perfect. Accelerate through the left turn and upshift out of the intersection. The smile shows itself as the others wish they could be as awesome as you.

Illuminated Dash Gauges, Part Deux

Mood lighting.

Mood lighting.

I wrote about illuminated dash gauges a while ago saying it’s rather dumb. I still think it’s dumb, but I realized it’s because the gauges sit farther in the dashboard so it is darker and harder to glance so there is somewhat of a reasoning behind it. Volkswagen seems to have an interesting solution in getting people to turn on their headlights. If the headlight switch is set to “Off” and it is dark, the cluster illumination is automatically turned off. If it is bright enough outside, the gauge is illuminated as normal even if the headlight switch is in the “Off” position. Now to accomplish this, there is a light sensor in the cluster to measure interior darkness even on models without automatic headlights. It seems like an over-engineered solution, but it works with what people are used to for ages: it’s too dark to read so turn on a light. No extra thinking required! Brilliant!

What wheels?

Drug dealer wheels? This is a selling point?

Drug dealer wheels? This is a selling point?

You can’t make this stuff up! A dealer in Virginia is advertising this 2012 Jetta on eBay with “drug dealer wheels”. I’m pretty sure those are stock wheels. The wheels aren’t unattractive, but it’s funny that the seller considers them “drug dealer wheels”.

These are stock wheels.

These are stock wheels.

Standing at the gate

This weekend is the busiest travel weekend of the year because of Thanksgiving. I flew home and back and had a wonderful time. I flew Southwest for the first time in about a year and after flying other airlines I realized why they have a boarding group and positioning number. Southwest does not have assigned seating so it never made sense to me why there was an order to board. Other airlines do have seating assignments, but it is a mess at the gate when they allow all people to board at once. Southwest has numbered poles by the gate to allow people to line up according to their boarding number to keep the gate area clear. I never realized how nice and clean this system was until today. It keeps people from standing in front of the gate during the boarding and deboarding process as well as moderates the flow of people into the plane. Kudos, Southwest, kudos.


Awww man, this one tugs at the heartstrings. I know the feeling of having to let go of a car. Unfortunately, the car that I miss is gone forever. I found it in the junkyard a few months after I sold it. It was my first car and you never forget your first. It took me through the second half of high school and the first half of college, which is an impressionable time in anyone’s life. While I have gained even better memories and experiences since then, I have not found an emotional attachment to any car since. If one day in the future someone gave me a mint condition replica of my first car I will just break down right there and cry.

Crown Vic vs Impala

There is nothing more fun than ganging up on a FWD Chevy with two classic police cruisers. I am too obsessed with making videos of Driver: San Francisco because this game is so damn fun for car film aficionados.

Signs, signs, everywhere there’s signs

Signs, signs, everywhere there’s signs

Blocking up the scenery, breaking up my mind

Do this don’t do that can’t you read the sign?


Is the British roundabout conquering the US?

So drivers in the US can’t get used to roundabouts because roundabouts require them to think. Sounds about right. There is a major intersection that I have to deal with every day to and from work. Traffic is always backed up at this intersection. I’ve often wondered if it would be better if this intersection was changed to a roundabout. Then I realized if people can’t figure out how to merge onto the freeway smoothly then how the hell are they going to handle a roundabout. It’s too bad because I love roundabouts given that a highway junction back home was converted from a traffic light to a roundabout almost a decade ago and the congestion was dramatically reduced afterwards.

The article made an interesting point about the difference between a traffic circle and a roundabout. In a traffic circle, the traffic going into the circle has the right-of-way and in a roundabout the traffic already in the circle has the right-of-way. I don’t understand why traffic going into the circle would ever have the right of way, but I can see why that method is unpopular. I guess that’s why roundabout are not too commonplace in the US since most traffic circles are in the northeast and there are more people in the northeast to sway the bias. Again, it’s too bad because I think roundabouts are genius traffic controllers (unless we’re taking about a Turbo Roundabout which everyone back home hates and I can’t blame them because it’s such a fustercluck).